At this time of year, we naturally reflect back on the many cancer survivors that we have had the honor of “meeting” over the past 19 years. We have also been blessed with an amazing staff, nearly half of whom are survivors themselves. We thought it’s about time we introduced you to some of them, as each one has a powerful story to tell!
Choose Hope Survivors – Pam’s Story
Pam felt a lump in her breast in early 2001, but as life would have it, things got in the way and she let things slide while she was busy raising her kids and moving to another city. It wasn’t until the fall of 2003, at her husband’s urging, that she finally went in for a mammogram. She did so more to placate her husband, as she believed in her heart that there was nothing to worry about.
Well, as luck would have it, the mammogram showed a mass, which was confirmed by an ultrasound. She was immediately referred to a surgeon, who performed an in-office lumpectomy that very day. On October 2nd at 4:00 pm (funny how vivid some details are), the doctor called her and confirmed that it was stage 2 cancer. Two surgeries later, they finally had clean margins. A mastectomy was discussed, but the surgeon felt confident that he had gotten all of the tumor.
Pam began a chemotherapy trial, testing a more aggressive time frame – every two weeks vs three weeks. This was Pam’s life for four months. The treatments really took their toll on Pam’s health, and she ended up in the ER regularly for fluids and anti-nausea meds. After a short recovery time, Pam began six weeks of daily radiation. Finally, she heard the words she had been waiting so long to hear, “You are finished. Go home and enjoy your life.”
Life After Cancer
In early 2005, Pam came to the realization that she needed to get out of the house and do something, but not just anything – something that would make a difference in both her life and that of others. She happened across an ad for a position at small company called Choose Hope.
To Pam’s surprise, the first person she met when she walked in the doors at Choose Hope was Linda, one of the owners, and an 8-year breast cancer survivor. She couldn’t believe that this ad for a part-time position brought her directly to someone who had been through everything she had – what a great feeling to know that there was life after cancer!
Today, Pam is the Shipping Manager here at Choose Hope and she has been with us for over 13 years. She herself has mentored other women, just as Linda mentored her.
She loves her job and says, “I try to get out as many orders as I can every single day because I know first-hand why they are ordering our products. I want them to receive their orders as quickly as possible because someone they love is either newly diagnosed, going through treatment, celebrating remission, or struggling with the loss of a loved one.”
Pam knows how fortunate she is to be here today, and she takes nothing for granted. If she could go back in time, she would most certainly have gone in to the doctor as soon as she found the lump. But hindsight is always 20/20 and it only pays to look forward.
Today, Pam enjoys time spent with her husband, Rob, her children and her two beautiful grandbabies. Her beloved dog, Kramer, was her rock during treatment and she will always carry fond memories of him with her.
When asked what she took away from her cancer journey, Pam simply says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Life is too short” Advice we can all take to heart.